Safety campaign ‘nothing new’: motorcyclists


By Ruby Jinman & Caitlin Reynolds

The Minister and Acting Commissioner for Road Safety launched a new campaign aimed at WA motorcyclists on Friday, but riders say the $850,000 campaign tells them what they already know.

WA Motorcycle Riders Association president Steve Fish said the campaign may not have a lasting impact on riders as most motorcyclists already rode safely.

“It’s probably not going to make them switch on and watch it again, because most cyclists are like, ‘seriously, we do that every time we get on a bike’,” he said.

“I’ve had a look at the campaign itself beyond just the ad, on the website they’ve got some tips and some of it is almost like victim-blaming, it’s putting it back on the rider to be seen.”

The ‘don’t push it, ride to arrive’ campaign shows how speed can affect a motorcyclist’s ability to navigate road obstacles.

The ad, to launch over the weekend, takes aim at male riders aged 30 to 49 in an attempt to adjust their driving behaviour.

Ms Roberts addressing the media to launch the campaign. Photo: Caitlin Reynolds

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said 20 motorcyclists had been killed on WA roads this year.

“Motorcyclists are a very vulnerable group on our roads,” she said.

“If you take a risk on a motorcycle and you’re going well over the posted speed limit, and you come off, the chances are you will be killed.

“A simple hazard can really pose a big threat if you’re traveling at an excessive speed.”

Road Safety Commission acting commissioner Iain Cameron said the ad had been produced to encourage motorcyclists to ride safely.

“We all think we’re the safest driver or the safest road user and it’s always the other person, but sadly that’s not the case,” he said.

“They [motorcyclists] are greatly over-represented and are about 28 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared to someone in a motor vehicle.”

Mr Fish said the campaign focused only on the actions of the motorbike rider.

“It’s putting the onus back on the rider for all the safety,” he said.

“I think we definitely need a campaign that is directed more at not just motorcyclists but also pedestrians and drivers.

“Other states have done that type of thing where ‘it’s not just a biker, it could be your brother, your cousin, your workmate’ on that bike.

“It takes it away from being the motorcyclist and personalizing it.”

Mack 1 Motorcycles Midland manager Colby Downes said the ad was a positive start but there needed to be more focus on training in the future.

“They need to make people aware of exactly that, the obstacles, they do get harder to avoid,” he said.

Mack 1 Motorcycles manager Colby Downes. Photo: Caitlin Reynolds

Mr Downes said having the right protective gear was really important.

“People are afraid sometimes to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars on a helmet or a jacket,” he said.

“But you just have to remember that they will last for five years at least, and having the right gear does save you.

“I’ve seen what happens when you come off these motorcycles wearing just thongs and shorts, and it’s not nice.”

Mr Cameron said a helmet and protective gear were the two most important protective factors.

“Surgeons and others will tell you what happens when vulnerable flesh and bone gets dragged along the asphalt,” he said.

“It is a terrible, terrible injury.”

Ms Roberts said she hoped the ad would put a strong message out there.

“Whilst not everyone necessarily will take notice of this, hopefully some people will take note; some families and some friendship groups will talk about this and some people will adjust their driving behaviour,” she said.

“Motorcycles are a very handy mode of transport and I think they’ve certainly got a purpose.

“A lot of people have fun riding a motorcycle and I’m not against people having fun.”